The West's Awake by Cormac MacConnell
Bring on Election Season!
Posted on Friday, January 21, 2011 at 10:42 AM
- Bishop Eamon Casey served us well, and deserves our prayers
- A lovely tale of island life in the paradise of West Clare
- The Boarding Out orphan was a wonderful pick
- How do the Irish regard their American visitors? With pride
- Absolutely no relation to US Republican politician Mitch McConnell
We have always enjoyed our general elections, especially the winter ones where the politicians have Rudolph noses and cold hands, but dammit this upcoming one will be a stimulating humdinger altogether.
I can't wait for it to get going properly. Then we can totally relegate the recession to the backburner until Easter.
I know I was doing a bit of prophecy last week, but this is a different league altogether.
And there is a bonus for Irishcentral.com and the Irish Voice too because, beyond doubt, our esteemed publisher Niall O’Dowd will have even better political sources available to him than now once the dust settles and the new government takes office thanks to his popular politician brother Fergus of the Fine Gael party.
Mark my words. Ye will be getting more Irish "hits" next summer than The Irish Times here at home.
Mark my words again. I promise I will get back to my usual attempts at whimsicality and rurality next week (it gets harder!), but in the meantime I want to be the first to inform ye that the outstanding feature of the upcoming election will be the reality of the massive failure of our political pundits over here in relation to the outcome.
Sure, they are already all predicting that Fianna Fail will lose heavily at the polls, but what none of them are saying is that the Soldiers of Destiny will be absolutely slaughtered everywhere. It will be an unholy massacre.
What I am saying here is that the once monolithic Fianna Fail party is unlikely to win seats commensurate with the 14% support which they still hold today, according to the commercial pollsters.
The pundits, you see, are mostly based in Dublin. Here in the west, and in the other provinces, there is a growling current of dismay, disgust and discontent in the Fianna Fail heartlands that I have never seen the likes of before.
And that is among the party's most faithful supporters down the decades of their pomp and power. It is stopping just short of open revolution. There might even be some kind of revolution unless the actual election date is clarified very soon indeed.
The gut feeling among the electorate is such that in my view it is strong enough to virtually wipe Fianna Fail off the electoral map after this election. It hurts me to say that because I was a member of the party for years.
To me they represented us -- the plain people -- best of all, warts and all. They were rascally, cute, roguish, earthy, they had their feet on the ground.
Back then I loved their ability to pull "strokes" at election times, to light the biggest bonfires, to have the largest rallies, to provide the most craic and excitement at the hustings. They had a countryman's style about them.
They have ruled our roost for so long. But their day is now done.
The French are masters of revolts and revolutions. I was in Paris some years ago when their farmers were revolting against new EC market rules. They dumped about 100 tons of turnips at the Parliament gates.
Our variation of that, it could be said, was to elect many turnips as our elected officials! All parties did it, but especially Fianna Fail because they had so many seats to fill!
In fairness to many of the turnip TDs (members of Parliament), they were valuable to their constituents at the level of cutting red tape, arranging local authority housing, getting medical cards and suchlike.
But there was always a lack of real legislative brainpower and savvy in our Dail (Parliament), and that has come back to haunt us now. And we are angry because we are responsible for the situation.
And whatever government we elect after the election craic and excitement will not be a helluva lot superior to what we have now. That is a fact too.
But in the meantime, all the hustle and bustle and stimulation of the hustings will speed away the darker days of Spring, will somehow upstage the recession for a few weeks, will create that oral fire and brimstone we all love so much.
The brighter Soldiers of Destiny, as I predicted here recently, have already fled the sinking ship in startling numbers. Others will follow before the off.
These are remarkable times indeed. And highly enjoyable.
There are different ways of observing about every situation. This is my way.